Behind the scenes
How price-conscious are Swiss online shoppers?
by Alex Hämmerli
Sales prices fluctuate. In online trading often daily. How big and how frequent these changes are, is no longer a secret: digitec Galaxus is the first online retailer in Switzerland to disclose the historical price development of all its products.
digitec Galaxus is shedding light on the often murky world of pricing: the leading Swiss online retailer is now disclosing the historical price development for every product available in its stores. Clicking on the price of a product or scrolling down will reveal a graph under the «Price development» tab. It shows how the product’s sales price has developed in recent months. «There’s a good reason for our transparency offensive: getting an idea of price trends has been cumbersome for consumers,» says Oliver Herren, founder and CIO. «That’s why we’re now disclosing how prices develop in our stores.»
Sales prices at digitec Galaxus are influenced the most by purchase prices, availability from suppliers and pricing by competitors. For example, if the product managers buy 100 screens, they will analyse the continuously updated quotation data from various suppliers and select the best offer. If they then buy another 100 screens a day later, the process is repeated. But the best offer available might still be more expensive or cheaper than 24 hours before. As a result, sales prices can also fluctuate in the short term.
By the way, monitoring competitors and the adjustment of sales prices are almost completely automated at digitec Galaxus. However, digitec Galaxus has no influence on the pricing of offers from marketplace retailers.
This new price transparency also disproves the persistent rumour that digitec Galaxus works with dynamic prices: «Personalised pricing models contradict our corporate philosophy,» says Florian Teuteberg, CEO of digitec Galaxus. «We don’t change our prices just because someone uses an Apple device to browse our range or prefers to do their shopping on the go in the mountains. Every visitor to our Swiss shops always sees the same price at the same time. The same is true for Galaxus in Germany as well.»
Customers of digitec Galaxus find the new price charts accessible, useful and user-friendly. In addition, the transparent price overview seems to create trust and satisfaction. This was the result of a qualitative survey conducted in close cooperation with the University of Zurich. A recent representative Gfk survey came to similar conclusions: 66% of all respondents would like online retailers to display historical price trends transparently. Only 19% opposed the idea. Price transparency is particularly well received by the younger generation and men.
Making sure employees and media know what's up at Digitec Galaxus is my job. But without fresh air and a lot of exercise, I basically stop functioning. The great outdoors provides me with the energy I need to stay on the ball. Jazz gives me the tranquility to tame my kids.